Inter Milan continued its run of good form with a 2-0 victory away at fellow European challengers Hellas Verona on Saturday. Rodrigo Palacio opened the scoring early in the first half before Jonathan sealed the points just past the hour. Inter moves provisionally above Fiorentina and into fourth place, while Verona could be six points adrift of the final Europa League spot by the end of the weekend.
The Nerazzurri completely dominated the early proceedings, so few would argue that they were unworthy of their advantage when Palacio nipped into the box to tap in Jonathan's low cross in the 13th minute. However, it wasn't long before their early dominance began to fade and the fans at Bentegodi started to urge their players forward. Soon enough, it was Verona who looked in the ascendency.
25 minutes in, Marquinho drilled a low shot just wide of Samir Handanović's far post, before Luca Toni was denied a penalty despite supposedly being tripped in the area by Andrea Ranocchia. Despite restricting Inter to unsuccessful counter-attacks, the hosts still struggled to carve out any clear-cut opportunities themselves and trailed when the referee blew the halftime whistle.
Verona started the second half equally brightly, but Inter never quite looked totally innocuous. The rather unimpressive Hernanes fired a warning shot ten minutes after the restart, crashing a free kick from the edge of the box against Rafael's crossbar. Unfortunately for Hellas, it was a sign of things to come.
Committing ever more players forward, the hosts left themselves vulnerable to the sucker punch. Fittingly, it was one of the game's top performers, wing-back Jonathan, who delivered it, beating Rafael from close range at the second time of asking. At that point, there was no way back for the Mastini, whose European dream looks less likely with every passing week.
Hellas Verona: Rafael; Albertazzi, Maietta, Moras, Cacciatore (Martinho 76'); Marquinho (Cacia 86'), Donati (Cirigliano 86'), Rômulo; Iturbe, Toni, Sala.
Inter Milan: Handanović; Rolando, Ranocchia, Campagnaro; D'Ambrosio (Zanetti 70'), Hernanes, Cambiasso, Guarín (Kovačić 74'), Jonathan; Icardi, Palacio.
Goals: Palacio (13'), Jonathan (63').